Acupuncture is endorsed by the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health.
Acupuncture is a type of complementary medicine. It involves inserting very fine needles into specific acupoints on the body. The needles are then activated by hand or low-dose electrical current. This helps rebalance the flow of energy in the body.
Acupuncture has been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. It is the oldest medical system in practice today. It was introduced in the United States in the 1970s.
The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as a treatment for more than 43 common disorders. These include:
- Arthritis of the large and small joints
- Breech presentation (when a baby is positioned to come out bottom first at birth)
- Bursitis (painful swelling of the joints)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome (numbness or weakness in the hands and arms)
- Chronic sinusitis (long-term swelling in the sinuses)
- Dequervian’s tenosynovitis (a painful condition that affects the tendons in the wrist)
- Fibromyalgia (widespread muscle pain and tenderness)
- Headache pain
- Inability to get pregnant
- Inducing labor
- Low- and mid-back pain
- Menstrual pain and problems
- Morning sickness
- Muscle tension
- Neck pain
- Neuropathy (weakness, numbness and pain caused by nerve damage)
- Repetitive stress injuries (pain and damage caused by overuse)
- Sciatica (nerve pain in a leg caused by the sciatic nerve in the lower back)
- Sports injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Tendonitis (pain or irritation of a tendon, like tennis or golfer’s elbow)
The therapists, physicians and surgeons in these areas work closely together to provide complete, coordinated care.
Below are common questions our patients ask about acupuncture.
While the exact workings of acupuncture are not fully understood, research shows that:
- Acupoints are located at sites with high concentrations of nerves and blood vessels — usually between or at the edges of muscle groups. Having a needle inserted into an acupoint is less painful than getting a shot in a muscle.
- Acupuncture releases chemicals into the spinal cord. These help keep pain signals from being transmitted to the brain. They also stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities.
We use only sterile, single-use, disposable needles for acupuncture.OR
Occasionally acupuncture needles cause mild bruising and bleeding where the needle is inserted. You may also have a temporary drop in blood pressure and/or feel tired.OR
Most patients feel only a little pain as the needles are inserted; others feel no pain at all. Once the needles are in place, any initial discomfort usually goes away.OR
- Bring a list of all medications and supplements that you’re taking now.
- Don’t wear makeup; this lets the acupuncturist see the skin on your face.
- Wear loose clothing and be prepared to undress if necessary.
- Don’t drink caffeinated or alcoholic beverages four hours before your visit.
- The day of the treatment, eat a light meal or snack and drink enough water.
Most people notice a change within a few days. The number of treatments you may need depends on your health, age, responsiveness to acupuncture and the conditions being treated. Most people need three to six treatments.OR
You may feel a little lightheaded afterward, but that usually goes away in a few minutes. If you don’t feel alert enough to drive safely, call a friend or a family member. Also, don’t exercise right after your treatment.OR
Complete musculoskeletal care
Acupuncture is part of a larger musculoskeletal program at The Polyclinic that also includes: